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Thread: Amazon protecting its big clients

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    Amazon protecting its big clients

    A person who makes a living as an indie author wrote an interesting post on a forum of which I'm a member. Here's is the gist of it.

    ...Amazon is now "policing" keywords!! They have forced me to change top notch kw on two of my top selling books. An executive rep sent me an email stating the keyword I had chosen was "too broad and confusing to the reader" so I needed to remove it - I was also informed amazon has the authority to remove any keywords they feel like removing. What they are essentially trying to do is protect the BIG name books and publishing companies they have contracts with.... If your books get close for all the right reasons - they will take out one or both of your knees till you go away. Been kicked around by them for two years as I'm sure many of you have...
    However, another successful author was not entirely convinced

    I'm not entirely sure about all this Amazon-Bashing. Maybe they're tightening the rules to raise the bar? After all, there's so much scam/freelance crap on the platform, and VA's writing crappy reviews. Anything that makes it harder for the IM's to pollute the author space might turn out to be a good thing. I don't want to have to compete against sub 50-page pamphlets with copycat covers.

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    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    I must say that the second quote sounds more convincing. But I don't know all the facts, and might be totally wrong.

    What's your own opinion on this?

    Mike

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    After I wrote the above, the first author quoted the detail. She had used the title of a series of books by a traditional publisher as a search term ('what to expect when you're expecting') for a handbook for expectant mothers. I reckon the publishers claimed breach of copyright, and Amazon took the easy way out and agreed. I have my doubts whether a court would uphold the concept of specified search keywords as being subject to the copyright of a book or other work, but you'd need big pockets to pursue it as a test case. After all, the author was not trying to con people into buying a book that looked as if it might be part of a well-known series - her own book's title was entirely different - she was just submitting her book to the competition for the keyphrase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chabrenas View Post
    After all, the author was not trying to con people into buying a book that looked as if it might be part of a well-known series - her own book's title was entirely different - she was just submitting her book to the competition for the keyphrase.
    Maybe she wasn't trying to con someone into buying her book, but I could see a customer being confused if they searched for a search term that is quite specific in their mind and saw other similar products come up. They may infer that the books are from the same author/publisher and thus of a similar value when they may not be. I don't think this is a black and white issue, lots of grey in here.

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    I don't think this is a black and white issue, lots of grey in here.
    I agree, Theo. And I'm sure Amazon will stick to their guns in insisting they have the right to remove keywords/keyphrases from authors' book listings until such time as a couple of traditional publishers clash - which would result in an out-of-court settlement. Meanwhile, I doubt whether any successful indie author would be able to persuade Amazon to act in the same way against a big publisher that did the same thing.

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    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    A grey area indeed - but here is a hard fact - the one thing that is not covered by copyright on a work is the title. That is why there a numerous songs with the same title, and a few books also sharing a title.
    Think about it - if the title was copyrighted, it would give people carte blanche to successfully contest any adverse comments they came across.

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    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    Another hard fact: Titles aren't protected, and (Making it even grayer) neither are ideas. Only the exact expression of those ideas. Which is why once you have a bestseller, you immediately see clones, i.e. the Zombie meme that is currently going around or 50 shades.

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    The law has little to do with this as Amazon never stated that they were restricting the ability to use keywords for legal reasons, but rather to avoid confusing its customers.

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